Life just keeps getting better on the framing site. Last year, I reviewed Skilsaw’s 10 1/4-inch cordless wormdrive saw, which allowed us to finally unplug the last of our corded tools (see “Skilsaw 10 1/4-inch Cordless Beam Saw,” Feb/21). Now Makita has introduced another entry in the big, battery-powered, rear-handled beam saw category: The GSR02M1 40V Max XGT 10 1/4-inch circular saw kit, part of the tool maker’s XGT line of cordless power tools.

Features. The saw features a brushless motor that spins a 10 1/4-inch blade at 4,000 rpm, giving it a 3 3/4-inch cutting capacity. It has an electric brake to stop the big blade, an important safety feature, especially with large blades that can take a while to wind down without a brake. Makita says to expect up to 150 cuts per 4.0-Ah battery charge in 4x4 SPF lumber, which—based on our experience with the saw—sounds about right. This saw will bevel to 56 degrees, with positive stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees, and it has a rafter hook that’s large enough to fit over 2 1/2‑inch I-joists.

The Makita 40-volt XGT beam saw can cut through 4-by lumber in a single pass, and has an electric brake that reliably stops the big 10 1/4‑inch blade after the cut.

One of the saw’s best features is that it weighed in at only 13.6 pounds—with the battery!—on my scale. This is a lot less than the Skil beam saw that I reviewed last year, which weighed in at 18.6 pounds on the same scale, and even lighter than the corded 7 1/4-inch Skil wormdrive that I started with in the mid ’90s. And not only is it light, but the balance is perfect.

The saw includes Makita’s AWS auto-start wireless system, which allows it to communicate using Bluetooth to a dust extractor (we didn’t test this feature, as we rarely use dust collection on our jobsites).

The kit comes with a 4.0-Ah 40-volt battery and a charger with a claimed recharging time of 45 minutes. It also includes a saw blade, wrench, and tool bag.

The rear-handled saw has a brushless motor and is fitted with a rafter hook large enough to fit over an I-joist.

Power. After using the saw for a few weeks, the only negative that I can think of—at least for now—is that the kit comes with only one battery. I never ran out of juice and didn’t have a second battery, but for crews that are cutting a lot of beams, I-joists, or blocking out of 4-by material, two batteries would be a must. Of course, if the crew is already invested in Makita’s XGT platform, this wouldn’t be a problem.

I also noticed that this saw did seem to lack some power, though maybe that was a function of a feature that the company calls “Automatic Torque Drive,” which it says adjusts cutting speed under load to optimize cutting performance. I’ll be interested to see if future, higher-Ah batteries will help with this. But it was never a major problem; it just meant that on certain glulams, I had to slow down during cutting.

We also had Makita’s smaller, 7 1/4-inch XGT saw on site during our testing, and we noticed that the bigger saw seems to draw down the battery a little more quickly. That said, I would absolutely recommend this tool. It saves time since you can cut thick stock or double plates in a single pass instead of two, even beveled rake wall plates. It’s available online as a kit with charger and 4.0-Ah battery for about $500.

Photos by Tim Uhler.